Columbia, S.C. – Palmetto Health has been awarded the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) NOVA Award for improving community health. The health care system received the national award for its Dental Health Initiative, one of five collaborative programs selected. This is the third time Palmetto Health has won a NOVA Award in 12 years. Established in 1993, the AHA NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health. Representatives from Palmetto Health will officially accept the award during a health forum and leadership summit in San Diego, California, Saturday, July 29. An award presentation in Columbia is being planned.
Dental health is a need Palmetto Health has addressed for more than 20 years. Earlier dental health efforts included collaboration with private dentists, partnerships with family health centers and S.C. Mission, a two-day event held for several years to offer free medical, dental and vision services. Together, the groups provided dental care for many people in our state unable to pay for dental coverage, including low-income, uninsured and at-risk populations (children, pregnant women, HIV+/AIDS patients). Most recently, in 2016, Palmetto Health partnered with the United Way, Richland County, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and other organizations to help form WellPartners, Inc., to provide the underserved community a medical home where they receive dental and vision care.
“Hospitals care not only for patients, but also move beyond their four walls to work tirelessly with community groups and organizations to offer care in the community,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The programs recognized by this year’s AHA NOVA Award inspire us all with their collaborative, caring approach to improving community health and wellness.”
Palmetto Health CEO Charles D. Beaman, Jr., added, “It’s important to reach into the community to identify the health care needs and find solutions. We realized that many people in our community were unable to access the right care for their dental needs. We found a way to help by working with others who share our fundamental commitment to improving the human condition. It’s part of our mission.This initiative is an example of our efforts to ensure that everyone has access to the health care services they need and deserve.”
Through the Office of Community Health’s more than 19 years of service, Palmetto Health has invested more than $53 million in health care services, touched the lives of more than 200,000 people in our community and partnered with hundreds of agencies to achieve our goals.
Vince Ford, Palmetto Health Chief Community Health Services Officer, said, “Palmetto Health is grateful for the collaboration and support from our community partners. We’re serving thousands of people in need of health care. Together, we are improving the health of our community.”